1) A FATHER WHO MAKES HIS SON A NAZIR
QUESTION: The Mishnah lists a number of Halachic differences between a man and a woman. One of those differences is that a man may obligate his minor son (Katan) to observe an oath of Nezirus, while a woman may not.
What significance is there to the Nezirus of a minor? Since the Torah does not obligate a Katan to observe the Mitzvos, why does the Torah require that he observe the Nezirus which his father accepted on his behalf?
(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Nezirus 2:13) explains that the obligations of this Nezirus apply to the father. The father must treat his son like a Nazir by keeping him away from wine, haircuts, and Tum'ah. This also appears to be the intention of the ROSH (Nazir 28b) who writes that the father must bring all of the Korbanos for the Nezirus of his son.
(b) RASHI (DH ha'Ish; see also BARTENURA here) writes that when the father accepts an oath of Nezirus on behalf of his son, his son remains a Nazir even if he reaches adulthood during the period of the Nezirus. Perhaps Rashi finds it necessary to mention this point here in order to explain the relevance of the Nezirus to the son. Rashi explains that even the child himself, and not just the father, is affected by the Nezirus because -- if he becomes an adult and becomes obligated in Mitzvos during the Nezirus -- he will become obligated mid'Oraisa to observe all of the laws of Nezirus as a result of the Nezirus which took effect while he was a Katan. (Although Mitzvos do not apply to a Katan, a change of status, like the status of Nazir, does apply to a Katan, such as the status of Tum'ah and Taharah.)
RASHI in Makos (22a, DH Nazir Shimshon) and the MEFARESH in Nazir (30a, DH Ka'im, and DH Hachi Garsinan) also imply that if the father makes his son a Nazir, the Nezirus remains in force even after the son becomes an adult.
However, TOSFOS in Nazir (28b, DH v'Ein) and the ROSH and other Rishonim (ibid.) cite a Tosefta (Nazir 3:9) which clearly states that just as Macha'ah (protest of the son or other relative) ends the son's Nezirus and prevents him from bringing the Korbanos of a Nazir, so, too, adulthood (the growth of two Se'aros) ends his Nezirus and prevents him from bringing the Korbanos of a Nazir. This is clear as well from the Gemara in Nazir (beginning of 30a) which, according to these Rishonim, bases its question on the fact that once the son reaches adulthood, the Nezirus which his father accepted for him is no longer valid (and he must make himself a Nazir if he wants to observe a full Nezirus).
How does Rashi understand the Tosefta? Perhaps Rashi maintains that when a son reaches adulthood after his father made him a Nazir, although he must observe his Nezirus he does not bring the Korbanos at the conclusion of the Nezirus. This is because the Korbanos are part of the obligation which a person accepts when he makes an oath of Nezirus (see Nedarim 4a). Since the father accepted the obligation of the Nezirus on behalf of his son, it becomes the father's obligation to bring Korbanos. When his son reaches adulthood (and is no longer in his father's domain), he does not acquire the obligation of Korbanos from his father, but the father is also not obligated to bring the Korbanos because his son has left his domain. The Tosefta means only that the Nezirus of the son is no longer applicable with regard to its Korbanos. Therefore, the laws of the Mishnah apply to a son who reaches adulthood after his father made him a Nazir (for example, if his father set aside for him an animal before he became an adult, it is a Chatas Mesah).
The Gemara in Nazir (beginning of 30a) also might mean that since the son does not bring Korbanos when he reaches adulthood, he is not bound by all of the laws of Nezirus. (This also answers the questions of the KEREN ORAH on the Mefaresh there.) (See also Insights to Nazir 28:1.)
2) HALACHIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN
QUESTION: The Mishnah lists a number of Halachic differences between a man and a woman. The Mishnah, however, omits a number of important differences. Why does the Mishnah not mention that a woman is not obligated to fulfill time-related Mitzvos (Mitzvos Aseh sheha'Zeman Gerama), or that a woman is not bound by the Lavim of Hakafah and Gilu'ach (shaving the head and shaving the beard), as the Mishnah in Kidushin (29a) mentions? Also, why does the Mishnah here not mention the Mitzvos of Talmud Torah, Piryah v'Rivyah, and Pidyon ha'Ben, from which a woman is exempt (Kidushin 34b), and the Mitzvos which only a father is responsible to do for his child, such as Milah (Kidushin 29a)?
The Tosefta (2:8) cited by TOSFOS (23b, DH Mah) indeed adds to the Mishnah's list the difference of Mitzvos Aseh sheha'Zeman Gerama, Hakafah, and Gilu'ach. However, even the Tosefta omits Talmud Torah, Piryah v'Rivyah, Pidyon ha'Ben, and Milah. Why does it omit these Mitzvos?
ANSWER: Apparently, the intent of the Mishnah is to list only ways in which men and women differ with regard to the details of Mitzvos, but not with regard to their obligations to observe Mitzvos in general. The Mishnah lists the differences between men and women with regard to details of Mitzvos such as the procedure required by a woman who is a Metzora or a woman who is a Nezirah, the status of a son whose mother attempts to make him a Nazir, how a woman is punished with Sekilah, and how she is treated if she steals. The Mishnah mentions only these differences because they are related to the Mishnah's discussion about the how to sacrifice the Minchah offering of a Kohen. The Mishnah says that when a Kohen donates a Minchah, there is a difference between the way the Minchah is offered when donated by a male Kohen and when donated by a female Kohenes. This difference is not a general difference between the Kohen and Kohenes. In contrast, all of the Mitzvos omitted by the Mishnah are general obligations and not matters of details about a Mitzvah.
The Tosefta, in contrast, discusses general obligations of a man and woman.
If the Tosefta discusses differences that relate to the general obligations of a man and woman, why does the Tosefta omit the Mitzvos of Talmud Torah, Piryah v'Rivyah, Pidyon ha'Ben, and Milah?
The answer may be inherent in the wording of the Tosefta. The Tosefta says that a woman "may transgress a Mitzvas Aseh sheha'Zeman Gerama, and not a man." The Tosefta lists only Mitzvos which one may transgress (such as the Isur of Hakafah and Gilu'ach, and missing the time to do the Mitzvah in the case of a Mitzvas Aseh sheha'Zeman Gerama), but not Mitzvos which are not limited to a particular time (such as Talmud Torah, Piryah v'Rivyah, and Pidyon ha'Ben) and thus it is not possible to discuss "transgressing" them.
Perhaps the reason why the Tosefta lists only Mitzvos which one can transgress is that only in those cases is there a difference in the details of the Mitzvah for a man and for a woman. That is, in Mitzvos that are "transgressable" there is a difference between a man and woman with regard to whether the transgressor is punished with Malkus d'Oraisa or Malkus d'Rabanan. The Tosefta lists these Mitzvos Aseh not because of the difference in their obligation or exemption, but because of the differences in the details for a person who violates them. In contrast, the only difference between a man and a woman with regard to the Mitzvos of Talmud Torah, Piryah v'Rivyah, Pidyon ha'Ben, and Milah is the obligation itself, and not the details of the obligation, or the outcome (such as the punishment) of the obligation.